Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Wild Permission to Reimagine the World

I know this blog isn’t used often anymore, but I do want to take a minute to share something that I found to be very meaningful. It arrived in my inbox on some unsuspecting Monday morning in the form of a fortnightly newsletter from Future Crunch, and I felt compelled to put it somewhere were others might read it.

I hope it isn’t read as an attempt to brush off or devalue in any way the critical conversations and calls to action that those in the struggle are issuing; fear is real, and I hurt knowing that so many people with whom I associate have to live through that feeling every day simply because they wear, on their person or in their hearts, an identity that is violently under attack. Rather, for me these words were a good reminder of global and historical perspective and also refreshing proof that, if we do the work we must do to uncover and defend truths and interconnectedness, it makes a difference in what our collective future will be like. I have emphasized some parts of their message that were particularly thought-provoking for me.

(As an aside, consider subscribing to their newsletter. I honestly don’t remember how or why I ended up on their listserv, but reading their words and following their links was a very refreshing thing for my spirit this week.)

Enjoy – and do your part to spread a little light, love, and life to someone else this week.

– – – – – – – – –

Men use up their lives in heart-breaking political struggles, or get themselves killed in civil wars, or tortured in the secret prisons of the Gestapo, not in order to establish some central-heated, air-conditioned, strip-lighted Paradise, but because they want a world in which human beings love one another instead of swindling and murdering one another. And they want that world as a first step.

– George Orwell

Pessimism is in vogue. We know the names of children whose bodies lie crumpled on distant shores, and whose dusty, bloodied faces gaze blankly at us from the ruins of once proud cities. Our glittering, wired eyes stare at our screens and tell us that the world is on fire. Our forests are disappearing, our oceans are being pillaged and we’ve just experienced the hottest month ever recorded. Our politicians squabble like children over the remains of a 20th century economy that no longer exists. Political and religious extremism raise their ugly heads (as they always have done) and old men clutch bitterly to wealth and power (as they always have done). Our new, digitally enhanced awareness creates a sense of heightened velocity and a feeling that we’re fast approaching some kind of catastrophe.

And yet, the human race has never had it so good. Life expectancy has risen by more in the past fifty years than in the previous millennium. When the Berlin Wall fell, two-fifths of humanity lived in extreme poverty. Now it’s one-eighth. Global illiteracy has dropped from one-half to one-sixth in the same span of time. Terrible diseases that have killed us for centuries are disappearing. We are making the halting, difficult transition to a clean economy with greater speed than anyone ever anticipated. With a few tragic exceptions, a child born almost anywhere today can expect to grow up healthier, wealthier and smarter than at any other time in history. They will have universal online access to all of human knowledge. Following three decades of feverish connecting, integrating and tangling together, we have built a precious, fragile new world. In so many ways, we are starting to flourish. 

This little fortnightly list is our attempt to tell stories about that flourishing, and hack the bad news habits that so many of us have gotten into. It isn’t always easy; our ancestors evolved to pay attention to scary stuff, and we’re descended from the ones who were best at it. Humans are also really good at empathy. When we see someone expressing an emotion such as sorrow or disgust it activates our own brain regions as though we’re feeling that emotion ourselves. Emotion is its own language, one that has a considerable effect. And in that language fear is the strongest word; the emotion we pick up easiest from other people, because it comes from the inner lizard brain, as opposed to other emotions like joy and sadness which arise from the higher monkey brain. That’s why we’re all so afraid these days – not because we’re especially gullible, but because fear is especially contagious. In a world where 2 billion people are using social media, when a negative emotion is caught and conveyed above a certain threshold it’s capable of infecting the entire planet.

That’s why we think the scariest epidemic in the world today isn’t Zika, or AIDS or the latest superflu. It’s fearmongering. Fear paralyses us from taking action and confuses us. It makes us believe that global terrorism is getting worse, when it’s actually getting better. It’s why politicians call press conferences about crime, yet never talk about mental health, which kills far more peopleWhen we’re scared we stop demanding a direct say in our economic, political, cultural and societal choices. We retreat inwards, protecting our own tribes at the expense of others. That creates spaces for demagogues and populists. Fear prevents us from speaking up, from sharing ideas and challenging centralized authority. It stops us from believing that problems can be solved from the bottom up by the same people who have the greatest stake in solving those problems.

Fear prevents us from imagining better futures. The immense challenges we are facing should give us all a sense of urgency and a wild permission to reimagine the world. When we dream of better worlds, we have responsibilities, but we’re under no obligation to find places in them for systems and ways of life that themselves have no future and that were never built for continuity in the first place.

Advertisements

“Should” and “Must”

Borrowed from Brain Pickings‘ recent post on Elle Luna’s work:

Should is how other people want us to live our lives. It’s all of the expectations that others layer upon us.

Sometimes, Shoulds are small, seemingly innocuous, and easily accommodated. “You should listen to that song,” for example. At other times, Shoulds are highly influential systems of thought that pressure and, at their most destructive, coerce us to live our lives differently. […]
When we choose Should, we’re choosing to live our life for someone or something other than ourselves. The journey to Should can be smooth, the rewards can seem clear, and the options are often plentiful. […]
Must is different. Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. It’s that which calls to us most deeply. It’s our convictions, our passions, our deepest held urges and desires – unavoidable, undeniable, and inexplicable. Unlike Should, Must doesn’t accept compromises.

Must is when we stop conforming to other people’s ideals and start connecting to our own – and this allows us to cultivate our full potential as individuals. To choose Must is to say yes to hard work and constant effort, to say yes to a journey without a road map or guarantees, and in so doing, to say yes to what Joseph Campbell called “the experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”

Choosing Must is the greatest thing we can do with our lives.

[…] Must is fantastic, and Must is just on the other side of Should. Should is this world of expectations – it’s like a camouflaged force. That’s one of the tricky things about Should – it can kind of creep in there when you’re not looking. It’s easier – it’s this invisible force moving against us [and] it often comes very early on in life. It can come from the time into which we’re born, the society or the community into which we’re born, the body into which we’re born… It can be a lot of different things that happen early in life [which] really take on that trajectory …and have us often running a different race than the one we were intended to run.

On Sadness

This morning, I’m sad.

I’m sad because I heard a woman fall onto the train tracks at the CTA Logan Square Blue Line stop while waiting for my train to carry me to work. I heard her panicked, pain-filled cries of “I can’t move! I can’t move!” and saw the well-prepared, fast-acting CTA employees jump into action to calm her down, signal the next train not to pull all the way into the station, call the paramedics, and chip some ice apart to help sooth her injuries. I mentally gave thanks for fast-acting Good Samaritans who rushed to the edge of the tracks and tossed off their messenger bags without hesitation to see if they could be any help to solve the situation. My heart was heavy from bearing witness to this unfortunate accident, but it felt unbearable weight when I overheard someone on the eventually-crowded platform mumble to someone else that he was “trying to get to work” and “if someone wants to jump on the tracks, that’s fine, but do it at 4am when no one else is commuting.”

I’m sad because, when I emerged from the Blue Line station downtown after an unexpectedly jarring commute, I found myself right next to a ring of Chicago Police Officers surrounding a young black male on his knees, hands zip-tied behind his back, bent over so far that his forehead was almost touching the pavement. His coat had ridden up so his bare lower back was exposed to the -25° F temperature of this Chicago winter, and all the police officers were doing was looking at him objectively and discussing how they would need “a REAL wagon” for this young offender.

I’m sad because I walked into my office this morning and heard a story about one of my most level-headed, service-oriented (and award-winning, for that matter) Posse Scholars who is seen as a model for so many of his peers having the campus police called on him by a university staff member as he and his friends as they played basketball at their own campus’ indoor recreation center. That staff member referred to my Scholar, also a young POC, and his friends as “those people” and insisted that campus safety check all of their student IDs to make sure they “belonged” on campus, an incident that has now happened on multiple occasions to this student and his friends.

People belong where we create space for folks to belong. People who are hurt are the ones who hurt others. People who make the intentional decision NOT to experience a situation outside of their own perspectives, their own needs, their own wants only contribute to the mentality that resources like time, money, power, and possessions are more important than the humanity of their fellow community members and brothers/sisters. How can someone else consider our desires as important if we are not doing the same to normalize such a culture?

I’m sad that Thursday has already been made so heavy by these instances of divisiveness and apathy, and I hope you have the courage to be a different source of energy, compassion, light, and understanding for this world today.

Resilience in the Face of Tragedy?

What a beautiful reminder of how human we are and how rare it is for our vulnerability, shakenness, and ability to relate to one another to shine through, even though so many of us are feeling similar things in response to emergencies, disasters, or unexpected events.

“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” – Henry James

Sasha Dichter's Blog

I’ve always found it off the mark – in places like Pakistan or Israel or anywhere there is repeated violence as part of civilian life – to laud the “resilience” of everyday people in continuing to live their lives in the face of tragedies.

The day before yesterday, on Tuesday night at 6:20pm, seven people died when an MTA commuter train slammed into a Mercedes SUV that was inexplicably stopped on the train tracks, even though the guard gates were down. The woman driving the car, Ellen Brody, was killed as were five passengers in the front car of the train.

The accident happened on the train line I take every day, around the time I usually ride home, about five miles north of where I get off the train.

Yesterday, thirteen hours after the accident, I trudged to my train stop to go to work. People are mostly silent…

View original post 414 more words

Let the Love In (and Out)

And that’s really what I’m finally wanting to say: I think you’re a great bunch, and in case there isn’t a chance to say it again, thanks for your concern, your calls, your notes– but above all, for your love. You’ve had my love and I’ve had yours, and I’m a damn fortunate man. So, thanks, and good luck.

– Marvin Borowsky
This American Life, Episode 137, Act I

Just a quick snippet of how I feel every year on Valentine’s Day and many days in between each Valentine’s Day. It’s a lucky thing to know how to love and to be loved, and it’s an even luckier thing when people who know both of those things can cross paths to share in such an exchange. Platonic, romantic, strangerly kindness, and everything on the spectrum between those measure-markers can and should be celebrated by those of us who are fortunate and humbled enough to be creators of and participants in such miraculous opportunities, even outside of February 14th, and I hope it continues to be.

LKTAOTAS. It really, really does.

This is Water: DFW, CPS, & ALS

I’m coming out of blogging hibernation to share some thoughts on some of the things we’re immersed in these days and how our own comfort and biases are sometimes blocking us from thinking through the full truths that make up our world. (I say that while also thinking, isn’t that always our overall condition, as beings with limited perspective and a penchant for habit-forming?)

I recently revisited my hardcover copy of DFW’s brilliantly composed and delivered This is Water, and a few things stuck out this time around, as his many sentiments strike me in different ways with each read. This week, here are his home runs in my mind:

If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is and who and what is really important– if you want to operate on your default setting– then you, like me, probably will not consider possibilities that aren’t pointless and annoying.

This intrigued me from within the context of the work I’m doing at my new job I couldn’t be more in love with during this time of year, when we take 2,600 nominated students from all over Chicago and invite them to participate in various rounds of interviews for a coveted 110 four-year, full-tuition scholarships at some of the top universities in the country. It’s grueling, it’s heartbreaking in its finite ability to cater to all who are worthy, it’s painstakingly thorough, and (the part that I am most grateful for) it provides the space necessary for all of our perceptions and opinions to be countered by the evidence we see and the wisdom of our colleagues. There is so much more to our nominees and our Scholars than what meets the eye, and I’m humbled to know that this carefully-crafted model is in the business of giving out scholarships and changing the face of leadership on college campuses and beyond. I honestly LOVE being proved wrong in my instincts by whatever gets served to me on the clock.

And:

The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able to truly care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.

 

That is real freedom.

 

That is being taught how to think.

I’ve been struggling with the recent flurry of Ice Bucket Challenges that have been taking my social media platforms by storm in the past few weeks. I struggle because I see the worthiness of the ALSA and also of a more public conversation about charitable giving, science/medical research and funding, and a fun, viral way to show support for a collective movement bigger than ourselves. I want to applaud so much of this on face value! It’s so beautiful to see so many united by one movement! I am excited that people are excited! And I certainly walk on eggshells when my hyperconcentration on justice and leftist ideas will be counterproductive in disempowering or discouraging the participation of my networks in a public (/internet) discourse.

But you know I can never keep this juicy inner debate to myself. My hang-up is multifaceted and involves everything from passive philanthropy to water justice to the short-lived nature of internet fads in actually effecting long-lasting change to distraction from other funds and issues that are equally worthy of people’s time and money. I suppose that is the point of amping up one’s marketing game – to be able to convince people that YOUR cause is the most pressing, the most worthwhile, the most pervasive and also the most efficient in terms of being able to DO something with your hard-earned ca$hmoney. But it’s a fun and world-expanding idea to occasionally follow DFW’s advice and look a little deeper into the many critiques currently floating around the internet and somehow not getting the attention that people with buckets of ice cubes are generating.

You can read my personal faves here and here and here and here. This is water, my friends. Let’s use it as thoughtfully as we’re able to.

– – – – – – – –

Listening: to the voices of old friends on the phone more often, to a stranger’s iTunes collection, to my gut, to my Uber drivers’ life stories, to affirmations from senior colleagues, occasional logophilic rants on The Gist

Reading: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius for book club, text message jokes from The City of Brotherly Love & Sisterly Affection, the intentions of promising college-bound high school seniors, 100 essays a week

Watching: The “Broodwich” episode of ATHF, my intake of energizing foods, InVox come back to life after a summer of downtime, the calendar fill up from now to mid-December, my vivid dreams return

Wearing: new sandals that match my old ones, versatile bangs!, crop tops in the privacy of my own home, a big ol’ stankin’ smile, my performance hat 2 evenings a week

Wanting: an easy way to cut ties, more frequent flyer miles, to meet my faux niece in SATX, more shoulder rubs, easier access to a personal vehicle, all things Herschel (I know, I know – I’m more hipster than ever before), a RoPo reunion, curry all the time 

Hangin’ with Mr. Lucas

It is possible that on a spiritual level we are all connected in a way that continues beyond the comings and goings of various life forms. My best guess is that we share a collective spirit or life force or consciousness that encompasses and goes beyond individual life forms. There’s a part of us that connects to other humans, connects to other animals, connects to plants, connects to the planet, connects to the universe. I don’t think we can understand it through any kind of verbal, written or intellectual means. But I do believe that we all know this, even if it is on a level beyond our normal conscious thoughts.

 

If we have a meaningful place in this process, it is to try to fit into a healthy, symbiotic relationship with other life force. Everybody, ultimately, is trying to reach a harmony with the other parts of the life force. And in trying to figure out what life is all about, we ultimately come down to expressions of compassion and love, helping the rest of the life force, caring about others without any conditions or expectations, without expecting to get anything in return. This is expressed in every religion, by every prophet.

 

Read more from the fingertips of George Lucas and feel no regret in doing so.

Also, just for fun on Lucas’ last sentence, two intriguing highlights from BBC NewsHour’s interview with Reza Aslan, a theologian who points out that Obama & Pope F “share the same values if not the same politics.”

  • “So, no wonder, then, that when the Pope preaches very similar ideas, the backlash to him from other Catholics, from other CHRISTIANS, is so complete; indeed, many of the same people, particularly in the United States, who so often claim to speak for Jesus are the first to CONDEMN the Pope for what he’s talking about with the poor. But, as I’ve said before, if you’ve got a problem with the Pope’s message, then you’ve got a problem with Jesus.” (2:33 -2:59)
  • I think what you’re seeing from the Pope is a man who is not really concerned any longer with either the bureaucracy of the Vatican or the complaints of these wealthy and powerful Catholic leaders. He is in a position of infallibility, if you will.” (4:57-5:13)

All Things Go, All Things Go

In a post-work check-in with my roomie Kylie tonight, I confessed one of the items on my Chicago Bucket List (hint: it involves a red cooler and frantic tweet-begging, Chicagoans…). It’s a running document I’ve had for years and from which, having been here for 7, I continue to cross items off just as frequently as I add new ones.

I thought I made this list somewhere on this WordPress way back in the day but my search into the depths of these archives has proved fruitless, so I first scrape from memory the things I’ve done:

 

And confess how much more work I have left:

  • Pedal in the infamously secret midnight bike ride led by LUC Professor Gilfoyle
  • Manage to make a butterfly land on me while visiting Notebaert’s Butterfly Haven (perhaps while attending one of their Saturday morning yoga classes?)
  • Ride the Water Taxi
  • Visit the StoryCorps booth at the CCC
  • Do something really fun at Northerly Island (I learned about the snowshoeing adventures too late this year)
  • Go inside the Pullman Clock Tower (look at that neat-o view!)
  • In the same vein: visit the YAB mural near Morse & the Metra
  • Make friends with someone who owns a boat (#selfish)
  • Scrabble Sunday at Swim Cafe (it closed! But is reopening as Awake Cafe soon! Perhaps they’ll continue the tradition…)
  • Meet Ira Glass (let’s be honest– not just a Chicago bucket list item. THIS IS LIFE, PEOPLE.)
  • See Mark Bazer’s Interview Show (“a talk show in a bar” = the best tagline?)
  • Take my dad to Wrigley Field (you know it’s love when I’m taking him to a sports event, y’all)
  • Go to a concert at Ravinia (soon to be crossed off! John Legend on 6/16!)
  • MEET RAHM (my vision board, also known as my fridge, has his face(s) hanging on it for a reason)
  • Have a cab ride where it costs more money for me to get in than it does to drive the distance to my destination
  • Enjoy a Sunday meal at the Hare Krishna temple
  • Visit every “community area” in Chicago (37 down, 40 to go)
  • Nab a late-night tamale from the Tamale Guy‘s red cooler
  • Monday night free barbecue at Maria’s (that’s right, I said FREE NINETY-NINE. Couldn’t possibly love the place any more)
  • Kick up some sand at a Chicago Full Moon Fire Jam
  • Kayak on the Chicago River
  • Be on the air with WBEZ
  • Get weird at Funky Buddha Lounge
  • Indulge in some late-night 23rd-hour Tony’s Burrito Mex (which is so cool/frequented they don’t even trouble themselves to make a website)
  • Bike the Drive (Gene/Jean/Jeanne and I would really rekindle our love after a long winter apart)
  • Sunday High Tea at Pleasanthouse Bakery
  • Submit a request for a block party and have it approved (#WOV05? Stay tuned…)

The Three Questions

FIRST: Happy birthday to my dear, treasured friend Corey, who is celebrating surrounded by loved ones in a place that means a lot to him and in a life space that is worth every moment of questioning and struggling and rising above. You’re the tops. Wishing you love and light for the next 365 and beyond!

At the end of my junior year of college, I found myself in a sun-drenched little chapel full of people whose shared mission of leadership, community, spirituality (faith), and service I had helped bring to life for them and for the 3,000+ first- and second-year students we worked with as Loyola Companions. The year was by far my most challenging and emotional in my personal journey, but I was proud to be part of a group that made me strive toward something bigger than myself because, collectively, we found joy in showing generosity, hospitality, curiosity, and enthusiasm to others. I had learned how to be the best form of myself DESPITE my struggles because I had come to know my place with them and (more importantly) their place with ME, in MY life, during MY self-seeking.

I was handed a children’s book, as were all of the others before and after me when our names were called by our inspiring and warm chaplain leaders. I remember Matt laying it in my hands and, as he did so, reminding all 40 of us that my 2 co-coordinators and I had based our orientation retreat in August on children’s books that demonstrated the 4 pillars of our work. The book he handed each of us as a gesture of thanks for our intentional time spent companioning others was based on a story by Leo Tolstoy and was titled The Three Questions.

The book is very much a coming-of-wisdom story in which a little boy realizes the three keys to a life of fulfillment by asking these very important questions:

  • What is the best time to do things? 
  • Who is the most important one? 
  • What is the right thing to do? 

I won’t ruin the punchlines for you (though if you want to ruin them for yourselves, the moral of the book is STILL the second half of my “About Me” on Facebook), but the book is a profound little tale I continue to revisit year after year and slump after slump to remind myself of the simple fact that it’s not about being the best; it’s about being the best FOR. It’s increasingly less about accomplishments and titles for me (though I’m getting a little tired of fighting the world on this one) and more about how often I did what mattered most to me and to those around me. And all that clarity-enducing reflection came from a children’s book! I know. I KNOW. I’m always forgetting just how simple the deep truths of the Universe are.

In a refreshing and challenging conversation with my friend Emily (C-Rod, you know I’m talking about the one I tried to make you be friends with at UD!) the other night, her words brought me back to this idea that the complicated things we bring around with us in the form of baggage all the days of our lives should be– and need to be– unpacked to become more simple, straightforward ideas and statements in order to help us best advocate for ourselves and be more authentic in our relationships with others. (She’s so brilliant I can’t even begin to go there for fear of never returning to my point.) I (and she) do(es) not mean to imply that all things are black and white and the easy things are the best things. It’s more this idea that we get inside our brains and work things into a tangled mess when, in the end, all we can do and should do is know where we sit and how we answer questions so that we can represent those things in our pursuits, our interactions, our dreams, our pilgrimages.

And then.

She used the phrase “the stories we tell ourselves,” which coincidentally happens to be the title of a chapter in the book I recently began re-reading (see last post for a taste of Miller’s delicious honey of a life-changer!). And I realized how the story I’m currently narrating for myself is WAY too complex to pack the same punch as The Three Questions and my task should be to bring it back to the essentials. Cool how pattern-driven and profound my life is because of the people I know, right?

AND THEN.

She asked me three questions. Y’ALL, I TRULY CANNOT MAKE THIS STUFF UP.

Her questions were about examining my relationships with others. We were specifically speaking about relationships I’ve invested lots of time and love and energy into, but I venture that it’s an interesting set of lenses through which we can look at a wide range of our relationships and interactions every day. Her questions, as (unethically?) ganked from a professor at UD:

  • What do you NEED from this interaction/relationship?
  • What do you WANT from this interaction/relationship?
  • What do you EXPECT from this interaction/relationship?

She actually drove it all home with a powerful fourth one: how do we differentiate between those three categories? Because we really should. It’ll not only help us reset our inner cardinal directions, but it’ll also help us discern the impact that we (and our wants/need/expectations) may have on others.

The easy part is laundry-listing what we know is resonating within us when we hear questions like this– to flush out those “stories we tell ourselves.” The more challenging part is finding the courage and conviction to tell our stories to others, abandoning all plot twists or hooks or flowery language. Just…plain and simple. When we are able to both recognize our straightforward answers and communicate them openly with others, we find ways to fit together and become a place of mutual belonging and codependency, similar to the feeling I had with my Companions crew in 2009.

I’m still hammering out some of my responses to those three questions from where I currently sit, but I have a feeling that they will be kept handy on my shelf to revisit on innumerable occasions, too.

be prepared to be surprised

what was the last thing that left you awestruck or in wonder of the universe? I’ve been searching really hard for those moments of daily joy, grace, and magic in my life as of late, and here’s why: i find that, when i allow myself to be struck by the simple paradisiacal details of my world, i am more curious, more grounded, more cheerful, and better able to shake off the many things that are bound to fall flat in our day-to-day lives.

as a chronically-late person, traffic jams and stalled public transit get me down. (don’t ask me how #dontrush2014 is going…)

as a relationship-focused person, one rude or thoughtless act from a stranger can deflate me.

as a young professional, a learning moment can rack me with guilt and self-loathing.

as a friend or family member, a single forgotten event or birthday or anniversary or unanswered text can make me feel like i’m not fulfilling my commitment to them.

i’ve been feeling the weight of the world in recent weeks (i’ll spare deets, but let’s just say march and i are not currently off to a great start), and so i’ve turned back to my boy don miller and his work a million miles in a thousand years for a reminder that so much of this life is within my control and i am able to both craft and interpret my journey however i please. one of the passages i keep unintentionally opening to is his chapter called “writing the world.” in it, he points out how quickly we move through life– so much so that that we don’t often recognize (or even comprehend) the sparkle of so many glorious happenings. he points to the fact that, while our brains are developing through our mid-20s, we “wake slowly to everything” over the course of more than 2 decades. since it’s all happening so very slowly, we begin very early in that development to brush off the miraculous and astonishing and take for granted the enormity of our existences and surroundings.

The experience is so slow you could easily come to believe life isn’t that big of a deal, that life isn’t staggering. What I’m saying is I think life is staggering and we’re just used to it. We all are like spoiled children no longer impressed with the gifts we’re given– it’s just another sunset, just another rainstorm moving in over the mountain, just another child being born, just another funeral. […] I’ve wondered, though, if one of the reasons we fail to acknowledge the brilliance of life is because we don’t want the responsibility inherent in the acknowledgment. We don’t want to be characters in a story because characters have to move and breathe and face conflict with courage. And if life isn’t remarkable, then we don’t have to do any of that; we can be unwilling victims rather than grateful participants.

But I’ve noticed something. I’ve never walked out of a meaningless movie thinking all movies are meaningless. I only thought the movie I walked out on was meaningless. I wonder, then, if when people say life is meaningless, what they really mean is their lives are meaningless. I wonder if they’ve chosen to believe their whole existence is unremarkable and are projecting their dreary lives on the rest of us.

i’m working to feed my craving for blissful admiration and shake a bit of my overdeveloped sense of self-importance that i have begun to tote around as my daily millenial baggage. it’s important to remind myself that i need to be patient enough to allow myself TO experience these things from my perspective, because that is the perspective with which i am able to see the world. but if i make the choice to don my rose-colored lenses when i rise each morning, i think i’ll be thrilled to return to a place of humility and growth and an openness to bear witness to the consistently extraordinary soon enough…